Well, not completely different–I was on the Mississippi, and I did catch smallies, but the section was quite a bit different from what I’m used to. Just a week ago I was on a section of the Miss that was barely big enough to navigate with my jon boat. No worries on getting around down here, and I actually had to beware of 40 foot cruisers and even barges.
I was on the section called “Pool 4”, this is the area from around Wabasha up to Red Wing. I went down there for a change of pace, and while on an exploratory trip you can’t really expect the fishing to be great, I had gleaned some intel from a friend to get me started. And I have been on this section before, but it was about 15 years ago and in the spring.
I was hoping to get into some walleyes, but was open to catching anything. Turns out we caught a little of everything, except for walleyes. Put a smallmouth guy on a body of water with smallies in it, and well I guess I just gravitate to any water that has a smallie look to it.
Smallies were caught, as were largemouth, black crappie, white crappie, white bass, bluegill, pike, sauger, and sheephead. We mostly fished around the many wing dams in the area, and most fish were on the top or front side of the wing dam. What was the biggest surprise were the bluegills–they were big [9″ers], and they were hanging in surprisingly strong current. The bluegills were caught on bait, but most everything else was on jig/plastic or crankbaits.
Smallies were all sizes, from tiny to big– Sarah had top honors with a 19 1/2″ that ate a white Moxie. This one ate during the middle of white bass clinic she was putting on–right in front of the oldest city in Minnesota–Read’s Landing.
Fishing in the shadows of the big bluffs was a cool change of pace, and although I can’t say I prefer it to my home water on the Upper Mississippi, I know I will be back next year.